‘The Arts Remind Us of Our Humanity'
About 80% of a person’s health depends on factors beyond the hospital walls. Here’s how the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ is embracing the arts to heal a community.
Like many hospital systems, MetroHealth incorporates the arts into its medical treatment and therapy programs. The health system provides these powerful therapies to thousands of patients each year.
But the arts can mean so much more – to a hospital, its patients and the broader community.
That’s where Linda Jackson comes in. For the last seven years, Jackson has reframed the conversation around the arts at MetroHealth. The arts, she says, must go beyond medicine. They should focus on promoting health and preventing disease – a view supported by a widely cited 2019 report from the World Health Organization.
“The arts can have a profound impact on a community,” says Jackson, Director, Center for Arts in Health, part of the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ “The arts can help people engage with one another and with their health.”
MetroHealth, of course, is building capacity within its traditional creative arts therapies and expanding those valuable interventions to new locations. But so much of Jackson and her team’s work goes beyond traditional clinical settings.
That work includes working with seniors at Scranton Castle, a Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority housing complex near MetroHealth’s Main Campus, on a mural – a project designed to combat the social isolation many of the residents experience.
It also includes the innovative SAFE (Students are Free to Express) Project, which brings professional teaching artists into Cleveland classrooms to connect with students who have been exposed to trauma and toxic stress. That project was recently recognized with an $85,000 research grant from the National Endowment for the Arts – the largest such award in the state of Ohio.
The Arts in Health team is also coordinating the visual art program for The Glick Center, MetroHealth’s new main campus medical center that will open in October. That work extends well beyond the new hospital’s walls. Jackson’s team, for example, is working with artists and other organizations to develop a suite of arts programming for a new park MetroHealth plans to build outside The Glick Center in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood.
“The arts can remind us of our humanity,” Jackson says.
“We want to create opportunities across the spectrum of health to address mental, physical and social well-being.”
To view the latest quarterly report from the Institute for H.OP.E.™, which includes this story and its latest social determinant of health screening data, click here. For more information about the Institute, visit www.metrohealth.org/hope.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.